It Takes a Village

The first participants of the It Takes a Village program recently graduated from Passages’ Workforce Development Training Program, which teaches soft skills like time management.

It Takes a Village, a new workforce development program, launched in Cleveland this summer doesn’t just offer basic job training skills; it is aimed at matching people released from prison with practical building and renovation skills that can lead to in-demand jobs with a higher earning potential.

It Takes a Village is a collaboration of several local community development corporations (CDCs), Passages, a faith-based, non-profit organization, and Ward 2 Cleveland City Councilman Zack Reed. The program, made possible in part by a Collaborations Grant from the Cuyahoga Land Bank, connects men as they re-enter society with employment, training skills and job placement.

The three neighborhood development corporations –  Slavic Village DevelopmentUnion Miles Development Corp., and Mount Pleasant NOW Development Corp. – have committed to granting vacant and blighted houses that can be renovated for a reasonable cost and resold for a profit that will sustain the program long-term.  The Cuyahoga Land Bank also plans to make properties from its inventory available for the program.

Participants, who come to the program through Passages, receive soft-skills training, such as time management and interpersonal skills, as well as hard skills such as drywall, flooring and tiling, and painting through individual CDC training programs.  Participants are paid $10 an hour for work during hard skills training.

“The It Takes a Village program is an effort to move these men toward self-sufficiency,” said Reed who committed funds to the program from his ward’s share of casino revenues.  “Without proper skills and employment, these men are at risk to end up right back where they came from.  This program is all about stopping the cycle and making our communities safer.”

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